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Anti-Doping Rules and Rule Violations Explained

18 Jul 2023

Rules and Rule Violations 101

Three athletes on an athletics track with title above them 'Anti-Doping Rule Violations'

What are the Sports Anti-Doping Rules?

The Sports Anti-Doping Rules protect the fundamental rights of athletes to take part in doping-free sport, and promote health, fairness and equality for athletes.

Why do we need the Sports Anti-Doping Rules?

We all want our sport to be fair. There’s nothing worse than losing to someone you know has cheated. That’s how the Rules help us. They help maintain a level playing field in sport, making sure nobody has an unfair advantage because of performance-enhancing substances. Sports Anti-Doping Rules promote fair competition and protect the health and safety of those who take part.

Who do anti-doping rules apply to?

The Rules apply to every member of a sports organisation that has adopted the Rules. They apply across all levels of competition, not just to elite athletes. They also apply to people who support athletes, like coaches, managers, physiotherapists and GPs.

Download the list of sports that have adopted the Sports Anti-Doping Rules.

What are the Anti-Doping Rule Violations?

There are 11 ways to break the Sports Anti-Doping Rules; these are known as the Anti-Doping Rule Violations (Rule Violations).

Who do the Rule Violations apply to?

The first four Rule Violations only apply to athletes:

1. Presence of a banned substance (e.g. in an anti-doping test);

2. Use of a banned substance;

3. Evasion of doping control or refusal to provide a sample when tested;

4. Whereabouts Failure;

The rest apply to athletes and athlete support personnel (e.g. coaches, managers, physiotherapists, GPs):

5. Tampering with the doping control process;

6. Possessing banned substances;

7. Trafficking banned substances;

8. Administrating banned substances;

9. Complicity with or attempt to cover up a rule violation;

10. Knowing association in a sporting capacity with someone who has committed a rule violation (e.g. training with a banned athlete or coach);

11. Discouraging or retaliating against someone for reporting doping.

Read the Rules in more detail

I’m not an elite athlete. What are the most important things to know?

Even if you’re not an elite athlete, the Rules apply to you. They apply even if you don’t intend to cheat at sport. That means you need to be careful about the substances you buy or use – especially substances you find online that make promises about weight loss or muscle gain.

It's more common than you'd think. An NZ cricket player recently found himself banned from all sport for four years after an online purchase of banned substances was picked up at the boarder by Customs.

So be careful about what you buy and use. The consequences just aren't worth it.

Find out what happens when you're banned from sport for doping